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In his music, mortality, anxiety, acts of God, questions of romance and brotherhood, and crises of conscience all collide and demand hard decisions. This is rock music that tells the truth on both its composer and the culture he's observing.and later played in the local bands Trash, Snakepit Banana Barn and the Mason Brothers.Mellencamp confessed in a 2005 interview: "That [name] was put on me by some manager.I went to New York and everybody said, 'You sound like a hillbilly.' And I said, 'Well, I am.' So that's where he came up with that name.

"It was too labored over, too thought about, and it wasn't organic enough. According to the February 1986 edition of Creem Magazine, Mellencamp wanted to incorporate the sound of classic '60s rock into Scarecrow, and he gave his band close to a hundred old singles to learn "almost mathematically verbatim" prior to recording the album.The first album recorded under his new name John Cougar Mellencamp was 1983's Uh-Huh, a Top-10 album that spawned the Top 10 singles "Pink Houses" and "Crumblin' Down" as well as the No. Take an old Rascals song for example – there's everything from marching band beats to soul music to country sounds in one song.14 hit "Authority Song", which he said is "our version of "I Fought the Law'." During the recording of Uh-Huh, Mellencamp's backing band settled on the lineup it retained for the next several albums: Kenny Aronoff on drums and percussion, Larry Crane and Mike Wanchic on guitars, Toby Myers on bass and John Cascella on keyboards. Learning those opened the band's vision to try new things on my songs.but I thought the name was pretty silly." Mellencamp recorded The Kid Inside, the follow-up to Chestnut Street Incident, in 1977, but De Fries eventually decided against releasing the album and Mellencamp was dropped from MCA records (De Fries finally released The Kid Inside in early 1983, after Mellencamp achieved stardom).Mellencamp drew interest from Rod Stewart's manager, Billy Gaff, after parting ways with De Fries and was signed onto the small Riva Records label.

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During this time he abused drugs and alcohol, stating in a 1986 Rolling Stone interview, "When I was high on pot, it affected me so drastically that when I was in college there were times when I wouldn't get off the couch.

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